By PATRICK JARAMOGI
KAMPALA Uganda [SHIFTMEDIA NEWS]On Sunday October 16, 2022, Uganda will join the rest of the world in celebrating the International World Food Day. The theme for this year’s celebrations to be held at National Crop Resources Research Institute Namulonge is “Leave No One Behind, Better Production, Better Nutrition, Better Environment, and Better Life.”
At the backdrop of this, government through the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF)and Food Rights activists led by Food Rights Alliance Uganda (FRA), Slow Food Uganda, World Vision, and Care Uganda engaged in a public policy dialogue to address the underlying food insecurity issues in Uganda.
Rt. Hon Rukia Nakadama in her keynote address said government had earmarked mechanisms to address the prevailing food insecurity in Uganda through increased agricultural mechanization and value addition
Agnes Kirabo the Executive Director Food Rights Alliance Uganda challenged government to walk the talk. “You can’t be everywhere and anyhow like MTN and think you can address food security issues in Uganda,” she said at the public dialogue held at the Prime Ministers Auditorium in Kampala on Thursday. “The issue of food insecurity is geo-political; it is a social security issue. You can no longer address hunger in a spaghetti bowl,” said Kirabo (below).
commenting on the mushrooming hunger in Karamoja, Kirabo said: “When people are starving in Karamoja, or when people consume bad food, whom should we hold accountable?”. She noted that she looks forward for the day when the President of Uganda will hold a state of the Nation Address to specifically talk on how Ugandans have eaten in that single year. or the past year.
Government Makes Firm Stand on Environment Conservation
Hon Bwino Kyakulaga Fred, the Minister of State for Agriculture noted that government had taken concerns regarding issues of climate change. “Human activities in steel slopes and wetlands have tampered with the cycle of rains. We can no longer predict when the rains will fall. As government we have come up to put a stop on activities that affect our climate, and we shall enforce the cabinet decision to the dot,” he said. He said the President (Yoweri Museveni) will soon pronounce the tough drastic measures adopted by cabinet to safeguard the environment. “Among them is a stop in planting of paddy rice in swamps, and reclaiming all wetlands encroached upon,” he said. Bwino said the water that flows from upstream mountains are supposed to be absorbed underground to form wells and springs. “This then filters into swamps, rivers, and finally flows back into the lakes where it evaporates and forms rain again, but this entire cycle has been tampered with,” he said.
UN Calls for Agricultura Mechanization
noted that is unfortunate that despite Uganda being a food basket, there are some pockets of areas experiencing famine, starvation and hunger. “COVID-19 set us behind, we can’t achieve the free-hunger global target by 2030.There is urgent need to stop dependency on foreign supplies of fertilizers. There is also need to increase the farmer know how,” said Querido. He noted that mechanization is very important in addressing food security. “With increase mechanization labour wastage will be addressed, and more jobs will be created. Efficiency in irrigation is also very important coupled with adequate research, value addition and addressing post-harvest losses, “he observed.
The envoy urged Uganda to desist from exporting raw materials, (unfinished goods) saying: “Each time you export unfinished goods or products you are reducing on jobs and fueling poverty.”
The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) Deputy Director General Dr Yona Baguma said competence, socially acceptable and exciting goods will make you thrive. “Have a local product, have a well-defined focus, stick to that focus, you will succeed,” said Baguma. He noted that there is urgent need to strengthen the defunct Cooperatives countrywide to support farmers from the village grassroots to have the Village Supermarket Hubs to promote and boost agricultural production. “We need to improve the supply chains, coordinate and harmonize our policies as well as enhance focused research.